No “Unconditional Basic Income”

Similar to the minimum wage initiative pursued by Geneva-based socialists (which was rejected in a referendum – see “The Swiss Remain Sane” for details), another Utopian socialist dream has just floundered in Switzerland. As the European press reports, this time parliament has shot down a radical proposal forwarded by Socialist Party representative Andreas Gross.

 

utopia-deniedPhoto via anti-kapitalismus.org

 

Gross wanted the State to pay everyone an “unconditional monthly income” of 2,500 Swiss francs per adult and 625 francs per child – which would have to be financed by additional taxes. The estimated cost per year: CHF 208 billion. For comparison: Switzerland’s 2014 GDP amounted to approx. CHF 680 billion. In other words, the proposal was utter lunacy on more than one level. In the end, even a majority of Gross’ own party voted against it.

 

switzerland-gdpSwiss GDP in USD (1CHF = 1.02 USD), via TradingEconomics

 

Here are several of the comments made by Swiss lawmakers in the parliamentary debate over the issue:

 

SVP speaker Sebastian Frehner called it “the most dangerous and harmful initiative ever”, which if accepted “would mean the end of Switzerland as we know it today”. He is convinced that “there would no longer be any personal responsibility if everyone irrespective of whether they have a job, their age, their wealth or their health were to receive a basic income.”

FDP speaker Daniel Stolz called the initiative “intellectually stimulating”, but at the same time “a hand grenade with its pin pulled, which threatens to rip the entire system apart”.

CVP speaker Ruth Humbel remarked that the initiative amounted to an “experiment in social romanticism that would be destructive for society and the economy”

 

The problem with socialism, as Margaret Thatcher is said to have remarked once, is that one eventually runs out of other people’s money – and in this case, this would probably have happened quite swiftly. The notion that everyone should be provided with an unconditional basic income by the State has recently gained in popularity (as have many other socialistic and utopian ideas), but it should be obvious why it cannot possibly work – not to mention that it would be immoral, as the funds would have to be taken forcibly from the remaining wealth generators.

Why would anyone make any effort to earn a living, knowing that he is slaving for others who get paid a share of his income for doing nothing? Dreamers like Mr. Gross seem to believe that there is an endless reservoir of resources the State can confiscate to implement their schemes. This is not the case.

Today Switzerland is a low tax country, ranks at the top of the global economic freedom scale and as a result its GDP per capita is among the very highest in the world. It is mind-boggling that there are actually people who think this situation needs to be “fixed”.

 

Conclusion

It is a bit surprising that some of the most extreme socialistic schemes have recently been seriously discussed in Switzerland of all places. There are probably a number of people with too much time on their hands in Switzerland. Luckily cooler heads have tended to prevail and resounding majorities of both the citizenry and its political representatives have rejected these ideas.

 

 

 

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4 Responses to “Swiss Parliament Shoots Down Socialist Utopia”

  • rodney:

    It is a bit surprising that some of the most extreme socialistic schemes have recently been seriously discussed in Switzerland of all places

    For all the talk about direct democracy, they got rid of their gold backing (in a very sneaky way) in the 90s, and they already have extreme central banking (no voting required for that) … Sad to say this but the seeds of statism have been planted: it all starts with unbacked fiat paper that allows politicians to have silly ideas and wet-dreams.

    It is now a question of time before Switzerland falls too … admittedly a long time but it will come.

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